NEO Scavenger

NEO Scavenger

139 ratings
10 Ways (not) to Die
By Lin
For new players who keep dying in the first week. Specific, fast, spoiler-free, simple-to-follow advice for beginners.
If you're trying to learn how to play the game but are worried you will lose all sense of discovery by reading guides, you're in the right place. This is just simple and practical advice for the most common "plagues" that kill new players in the first few days of playing, together with basic hints at the mechanics underlying the game, to give you ideas of what else might be in there for you to discover.

In other words, this guide will hopefully a) help you live a bit longer (sometimes) and b) help you die a bit more informed about what went wrong. ;)

Most everything is spoiler-free and with as little unnecessary detail as possible.
1. Pick an easy build
The closest thing to an easier difficulty setting button: Melee + Botany + Trapping.

Good ideas for the remaining points:
- athletic
- hiding + tracking
- tough + the metabolism flaw (only if you have botany)
2. Don't let the cold kill you
The most famous spoiler of the game (that you probably already know about):
Kill the dogman at Cryo (melee), craft him into a coat (trapping), wear the coat.
  • Roll out your sleeping bag in your camp at the end of every round when in fear of hypothermia. It's annoying but you will stay alive.
  • Scavenge smartly: Not many people leave clothes in their offices. There are more closets in houses and appartment buildings. Not to mention in those godsend forest shacks.
3. Don't get killed by enemies
  • Make a broad spear (with melee or ranged). Tear up your gown for rags if need be.
  • Slings are a good secondary weapon.
  • Avoid fights. Run away if you can. (Retreat will not succeed if your enemy is too close.)
  • Keep in mind: Combat moves are resolved simultaneously.
  • Don't try chatting unless you're in a very safe distance. Some factions are less friendly than others.
  • Control the attack range. A spear has an attack range of 3, a crowbar of 2, etc. Watch what you have and what the opponent has.
  • If there's a hidden enemy, duck. They may have a ranged weapon.
  • Don't just smash the attack button. Play strategy. Hit them when they're vulnerable, prefer other moves the rest of time.
  • Don't get vulnerable or turn your back on the enemy within their attack range.
4. Don't die of thirst / contaminated water
  • Most food helps with thirst. Medium chunks of meat are great, but berries are good too.
  • Botany means you never have to die of thirst - spamming berries is time consuming and annoying, but will keep you alive.
  • If you don't have a pot or can, boil water in a glass bottle.
  • If you don't have trapping, focused sunlight (with a glass bottle, scope, etc) also makes fire.
  • If you're desperate, running river water may be safer than a swamp.
5. Don't die from hunger
You probably won't ever really die OF hunger, but hunger makes you weak, and weakness makes you vulnerable. Hunger also makes you dead, if you eat the wrong thing. So:
  • Botany means you never have to go hungry, just get used to scavenging forests.
  • Blue berries are always safe.
  • Uncooked meat isn't.
  • Other unidentifed berries and mushrooms are a russian roulette. Don't gamble, it's deadly.
6. Don't die from your wounds
  • Bandage all bleeding wounds with a clean bandage. Only use a dirty rag if really desperate, and remove it once the bleeding stops.
  • Disinfect at least the serious wounds. Clean water is ok, alcohol or bark tea (botany) are better. Keep them bandaged if possible.
  • Give yourself time to recover. Don't get into fights when hurt. Common sense stuff like rest (especially in a warm, comfortable place), food, plenty of water, antibiotics and bark tea work.
7. Don't attract unwanted attention
  • Light (like fires), noise (like loud scavenging) and flashy tarp shelters attract NPCs.
  • If you can see the "items here" box on a hex, so can looters. Put all items with a price tag inside your campsite (right side of the camp screen) instead of leaving them on the ground (left side of the screen).
  • Always remember: enemies can see your tracks, animals can even smell you.
  • For all the above reasons, long term camps in unprotected areas invite trouble.
    Stay on the move.
8. Don't die in your sleep
  • Pick your sleeping spot carefully. Even if you can't see all the camp stats, use common sense. You need to be warm, comfortable and better hidden? A building may be a good idea. You don't like waking up with a dogman right in your face? In a field you may be able to see your enemy coming and any fight will likely start from further away.
  • Be prepared: Drop any vehicles, equip a melee weapon, make 4 noise traps.
  • Lay low: Put all items inside your camp (right side), clear all tracks and hide. And no fires.
9. Use common sense, not gaming logic
It's hard to break years of gaming habits, but: Common sense will serve you well with most risk/reward decisions in this game, both mechanically and in encounters. Take a second to stop and wonder what you'd do in real life. My favourite early game examples:
  • Don't stay in Cryo. Yes, it looks like the perfect camp for a survival game, but if everything and their aunt is attacking you there, why are you staying? Leave, go towards the light. ;) You can come back later.

  • Don't hoard, not in early game. Yes, you can probably make something shiny with every little piece of garbage you find. But you are barely managing to stay alive, you don't NEED that broken bottle right now. In the first few days, if it isn't practically keeping you alive and you can't craft something you desperately need with it, just stash it in a camp and leave it be. (For pathological hoarders: take mechanic and make a travois, remember it slows you down though).

  • Roll with the punches. Even after you've done everything right, luck is still luck. No shoes? No backpacks or containers? No lighters? No pots or cans? It's okay. Keep moving. You will find them elsewhere/later, in the meantime be creative and concentrate on getting through the day. Deciding not to leave Cryo until you have X is a very risky proposition. (Generally speaking powergaming and min/maxing don't work well in this game without modding.)
10. Don't be a superhero
  • Everything is out to get you. Being scared, playing it safe and running away are very valid options, especially while you're still learning.
  • If something looks dangerous, it is. If it doesn't look dangerous, it may still be.
  • Believe what the game tells you. Keep an eye out for clues and take warnings seriously. If you've been warned against doing something and do it anyway, either be prepared for it or be prepared to die.
Enjoy your next death!
Good luck, have fun. :)

And once you've got basic survival down, feel free to ignore everything here and try out different things on your own. The game allows a wide variety of totally viable build combos as well as very different playstyles and strategies. It is much more nuanced than these streamlined tips might make you think.

Thanks to Dan for the fun ride, to Kaaven for the shanties, and to everyone at the forums and the wiki for teaching me all I needed to know about dying very informed and satisfying deaths.
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Zeyther Mar 21, 2022 @ 10:32am 
Gets the legendary traits just to get headshoted by sniper
Ciaran Zagami Oct 29, 2021 @ 2:03am 
Super huge tip you low key missed
Cans are better than pots. They're smaller, lighter and have infinite uses.
WereSlug Aug 17, 2021 @ 10:51am 
Mushroom I think you need to put the dogman in with trapping and a cutting tool to get the coat?
Mushroom Butts May 1, 2021 @ 10:38am 
I have no idea how to craft the coat. I skinned the dude and then put the fur in the crafting with the trapping skill and nothing. put it in with a sharp glass and nothing but a shiv. I cant seem to craft it
BallStretcher Mar 29, 2021 @ 6:38pm 
clean rags are abundant in mid game, at least for me, i always bring 20 dirty rags from scrapped clothing/looting in general, bring it to a lake/swamp, collect water, make a fire, and clean all those dirty rags into clean rags, along with sterile water, whichever i need more of, and sometimes a mix of the two
underworldbros Jan 16, 2021 @ 6:17pm 
This man talking about disinfecting woulds and using clean bandages like those are the most common things. I'm lucky enough to find a pot MAYBE after 3 days on average. Usually dead by then...
Chern Dec 6, 2020 @ 3:21am 
Exactly. That's why I'm asking.
KetchupAddict Dec 6, 2020 @ 2:39am 
I have a feeling that you really didn't understand that sentence...
Chern Dec 1, 2020 @ 3:28am 
''Put all items with a price tag inside your campsite (right side of the camp screen) instead of leaving them on the ground (left side of the screen).'' Is this true? Will you get money from this?
Aiodensghost Aug 31, 2020 @ 10:43pm 
as someone mentioned, NEVER remove the talisman. ALSO, NEVER PUT THE BAG/MASK THING ON...